What went wrong for England at the Champions Trophy

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England were tipped to win the Champions Trophy on home soil this month, but fell to an unexpected semi-final defeat against Pakistan.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s men were huge outsiders going into the tournament, and it was tough for fans to take, particular the manner of the defeat. The eight-wicket loss was a real embarrassment, and despite fielding their best team in more than a decade, England’s trophy drought in global over-50 tournaments continues. Here are the key reasons why it all went wrong for England:

Psychological Frailty

For the second time in two years England choked in the knockout stage of a major tournament. They are just playing like a flat pitch side and really need to learn to win when it really matters, when the pressure is on and even when the conditions are unfamiliar to them. They must learn to deal with the pressure in time for the 2019 World Cup. England have their best team in a generation, a good captain in Eoin Morgan and a great coaching team, and they all have two years to learn from their mistakes and grow mentally stronger.

Big Players Failed to Deliver

Much was expected of Ben Stokes, who broke the world record when he was signed by the Rising Pune Supergiants this year and ended up as MVP in the IPL, but he had a shocker. He is England’s talisman and his failure to deliver rubbed off on the rest of the team. He had a torrid time of it and did not hit a single boundary from 64 balls, while he conceded 38 runs in just 3.4 overs. Joe Root fell to Shadab Khan’s short, wide delivery, while captain Eoin Morgan also had a day to forget and his dismissal was extremely foolhardy at a time when England needed to consolidate their position and not yield further wickets.

Poor Decision Making

Morgan waited too long to bring in the spinners. Had Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid come in earlier it could have all ended so differently. By the time Rashid was introduced Pakistan had reached 81-0 and it was too late to turn it around.

Poor Batting Display

England failed to register a single six, boundaries were few and far between and not once was a three achieved. Shot selection was poor, frequently either timid or rash in equal parts. The big guns failed to deliver and it was a miserable performance. They fell apart in the middle, scoring just 75 runs between overs 20 and 40, which underlined Pakistan’s dominance.

Lethargy

England needed to play out of their skins when Pakistan were set a total of just 212 to seal victory, but that did not happen. There were no howlers from England’s fielders, but they gave away plenty of runs in the chase as they struggled to find the right level of intensity. Johnny Bairstow’s misfield for a four early on summed it up.

Conclusion

Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong for England did indeed go wrong. It is a real blow for fans and players alike, and it shows how much work there is to do, but the England set up can still be proud of the job they have done over the last two years. The improvement has been huge and there is a great deal of potential there. England have a 50-over team packed full of world-class talent and just need to be mobilised better, demonstrate mental strength and prove they are not one-dimensional and that they are up for a fight. The plan is to peak in two years time at the World Cup, so they are still on course for that and should not panic after one defeat. Ladbrokes will have odds for them, review them before placing a bet and you will see that you can get great odds for England to win the World Cup. They are 4/1 and currently ranked as fourth favourites, after Australia, South Africa and India. There is plenty of danger in the field, but if they continue on their upward curve they have an excellent chance of seizing glory.

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